No, this is not about THE POWER OF THOUGHT. My internal jury is still out on that one.
It is about the power of thoughts. The power of thoughts to kill, for example.
Like guns, thoughts don’t kill people. People kill people. But as we saw here in Norway on July 22, thoughts can make it easier for people to kill people.
Thoughts are powerful forces for harm. They can constrict, restrict, mutilate, gag, torture and kill. They can render people emotionally mute, as Yashir Ali points out in his essay on “gaslighting”.
They can also be nurturing forces for change and growth.
Although I am an atheist, some thoughts that are attributed to Jesus send shivers down my spine …
Matthew Chapter 5:“43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you …”
And it’s not only the extremely radical message of “Love your enemies” that I find so liberating, but the words “curse”, “hate”, “despitefully use and persecute”. He doesn’t shrink from describing what we humans are capable of doing to each other.
If Jesus were to say this today, some enlightened person might, in the nicest possible way, suggest that he “be positive” and “try to understand” that they’re not really enemies, they’re just people whose childhood needs were not met, they didn’t really mean to cause pain, and: “To heal, we must forgive.”
Would Jesus be shocked to hear that people who have been despitefully used and persecuted are constantly being pressured by well-meaning helpers into trying to be nicer than he was?
“And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
He did not say “I forgive you.”
He said “Love your enemies”. He said “do good to them”, “pray for them”.
He did not say “try to understand them” or “forgive them” or “never accuse or judge them”.
He also said a lot of stuff about obedience to the Father … and there he lost me.